McDonald’s prepares to reserve seats in proxy fight with Carl Icahn

McDonald’s corp.

MCD 2.74%

She is set to win a proxy battle with activist Carl Icahn, who has challenged the fast-food chain over its suppliers’ treatment of pregnant pigs, people familiar with the matter said.

Early vote statistics show that McDonald’s is far ahead of Mr. any personAnd

Who nominated two directors to the company’s board of directors, People said. They said the votes would continue to come through the end of McDonald’s shareholder meeting Thursday morning and could move, although it was unlikely to change the outcome.

Mr. Icahn’s campaign for animal rights was seen as a far-fetched shot from the start, given that it was a far cry from his typical battle with activists. This did not provide a clear financial advantage to McDonald’s shareholders, and he had a small stake in McDonald’s, which meant he needed to convince a larger than usual portion of the shareholders to support his cause.

Mr. Icahn can portray the campaign as a partial victory given that it raised awareness of the cause, in which he first participated in 10 years in his daughter’s best cases and the Humane Society of the United States.

The crux of the conflict is McDonald’s suppliers’ use of so-called carry boxes, small cages used to restrain pregnant pigs. Suppliers said the boxes make breeding more efficient, while Mr. Icahn and his candidates say they are inhumane.

In 2012, McDonald’s pledged to stop buying pork by 2022 from producers using crates. It was not known that Mr. Icahn quietly pushed for the changes behind the scenes.

this year, mr. Icahn argued that McDonald’s failed to follow through and change its interpretation of the pledge. McDonald’s producers now often only take the pigs out of their containers after confirming they are pregnant, which many wait to do until the pigs reach four to six weeks of their 16-week gestation.

Mr. Icahn expected the use of chests to be banned altogether.

McDonald’s said more than 60% of pork in the United States is sourced from pigs not in gestational bins once they are confirmed to be pregnant, and expects that number to be 85% to 90% by the end of this year.

the company says mr. Icahn’s order is not feasible because it will increase costs significantly and impose a financial burden on customers.

Mr. Icahn has attempted to appeal to large index funds that focus on socially conscious investing, the support of which is crucial in most proxy battles. He argued that despite being at the forefront of the ESG movement, BlackRock company

Others have personally chosen the principles they care about and have placed little emphasis on animal welfare.

write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com and Dana Similuca at dana.cimilluca@wsj.com

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It appeared in the May 25, 2022, print edition as “Icahn Set To Lose Proxy Bid At Chain.”

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